As joyous as the holidays can be, they can also be extremely stressful. You have all of your normal errands to run and chores to do, with the additional responsibility of buying and wrapping gifts, running to the post office to send packages to faraway family and friends, decorating the house, and more. Baking holiday cookies and getting the house ready for company are all the building blocks of happy memories unless they’re being done while you’re suffering from back or neck pain.
If you’re waking up in the morning feeling an unfamiliar soreness in your lower back or hips, or turning your head is bringing a twinge, it’s a strong signal that you’re doing too much. It may also be a sign that holiday stress is starting to take a toll. If the problem is new, you can probably address it with some pain relievers and some stress relieving techniques as described below. Try doing some stretches, especially if you’ve been putting yourself into uncomfortable positions following hours of wrapping gifts, baking cookies, or walking the mall.
If your pain continues past the holiday, or is an awakening of an old neck or back injury, it’s probably time to call our New Jersey spine specialist to see how we can help.
Stress and Pain Relief Techniques
- Do neck-stretching exercises. Shrugging your shoulders, turning your head to the left and right as far as you can without pushing to the point of pain, then doing the same looking up to the ceiling and own to your feet, can all alleviate pain. Beyond these simple moves, there are plenty of helpful videos and how-to guides online for relieving neck muscle tightness.
- Meditation is getting increasing recognition as a stress and anxiety reliever. Not only can it calm a troubled mind, it can go a long way towards reducing muscle tension. There are free guided meditations available for download, as well as YouTube videos to help you learn the practice.
- Ask for help. It’s pretty natural to try to shoulder the responsibility for the holiday preparations on your own, but people will be happy to have a way to pitch in and help.
- Book a spa day. Massages can work wonders to relieve muscle tightness. If you can’t afford a day at the hands of a professional, ask a friend or partner to spend a few minutes kneading out the kinks – or ask them to give you a gift certificate for a massage this year for the holidays!
- Get out and exercise. Moving is essential to your mental and physical wellbeing, and a great way to relieve stress.
- Cut down on your list. Many times the muscular tension that we feel is a result of trying to do too much. Look at your to-do list and prioritize it, dropping off what is least important.
If stress relief doesn’t do the trick, your problem may be caused by a physical problem. Call our New Jersey neck pain specialist to set up an appointment and evaluation.